South Carolina General Assembly
110th Session, 1993-1994

Bill 1180

                    Current Status
Introducing Body:               Senate
Bill Number:                    1180
Ratification Number:            430
Act Number:                     570
Primary Sponsor:                Bryan
Type of Legislation:            JR
Subject:                        PilotProject for School-Based
                                Counseling Services
Companion Bill Number:          4741
Date Bill Passed both Bodies:   19940426
Computer Document Number:       NO5/7609BDW.94
Governor's Action:              S
Date of Governor's Action:      19940510
Introduced Date:                19940215
Date of Last Amendment:         19940421
Last History Body:              ------
Last History Date:              19940510
Last History Type:              Signed by Governor
Scope of Legislation:           Local
All Sponsors:                   Bryan
Type of Legislation:            Joint


Bill   Body    Date          Action Description              CMN  Leg Involved
----   ------  ------------  ------------------------------  ---  ------------
1180   ------  19950103      Act No. 570
1180   ------  19940510      Signed by Governor
1180   ------  19940504      Ratified R 430
1180   Senate  19940426      Concurred in House amendment,
                             enrolled for ratification
1180   House   19940422      Read third time, returned to
                             Senate with amendment
1180   House   19940421      Unanimous consent for third
                             reading on next Legislative
1180   House   19940421      Amended, read second time
1180   House   19940406      Recalled from Committee         21
1180   House   19940405      Introduced, read first time,    21
                             referred to Committee
1180   Senate  19940331      Read third time, sent to House
1180   Senate  19940330      Amended, read second time
1180   Senate  19940324      Committee Report: Favorable     04
                             with amendment
1180   Senate  19940215      Introduced, read first time,    04
                             referred to Committee
View additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.

(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)

(A570, R430, S1180)


Whereas, school-based counseling services have numerous advantages relative to traditional center-based approaches. Schools have the potential to be a venue by which services can be provided to children and families where they are and when they need help; and

Whereas, children with emotional disturbances and their families typically have multiple problems which research shows are not amenable to narrow interventions. Efficacy is increased when services are integrated into everyday settings; and

Whereas, research shows that families now often lack easily available help when they are having "normal" crises. The service system generally has failed to respond to this important change in family life. Because of the schools' universality and the relative lack of stigma associated with services provided within them, school-based services are one way that the gap can be filled. By so doing, relief can be given to children and families in general, and families "on the edge" can be prevented from development of more serious problems; and

Whereas, perhaps more than any other potential venue, schools offer a setting in which children can seek help when they need it; and

Whereas, schools can be powerful factors, both negatively and positively in children's mental health. School-based services can be important elements in the decision of schools that are healthy and safe for children in general and for children with emotional disturbance. The need for such an emphasis is especially acute in South Carolina where schools account for a far greater proportion of juvenile justice referrals than is typical across the nation; and

Whereas, school-based services can make access to mental health services more easily accessible. Not only do they not provide help to people at the time that they are most acutely in need, but they also have high no-show rates. Keeping of appointments by parents as well as children is substantially greater in school-based programs. Data from the Bryson Middle School project, an initially federally funded demonstration project administered by the Piedmont Mental Health Center in Greenville County, indicate that no-show rates decrease and that collections of fees increase several times over, relative to center-based services, and that the disparity grows greater across time; and

Whereas, schools are ideologically compatible with the steps that should be taken to help children and families. Perhaps most important, they have an emphasis on development of competence. One of the most important needs of school-aged children is reduction of barriers to learning, because adaptation to school expectations is the primary work that is expected of children; and

Whereas, schools are integral institutions in communities, and they thus permit easy accommodation of services to community needs. One ideological change that may be necessary, though, if schools are to be maximally effective in meeting the needs of troubled pupils and their families is to make them more family-oriented. School-based services may provide a means of doing so; and

Whereas, school-based services are consistent with public policy in South Carolina. For example, the Community Education Act of 1976 established a policy of support for schools as "community centers operated in conjunction with governmental agencies and community service organizations to provide educational, recreational, cultural, social, health, and other community services for all persons in the community in accordance with their needs, interests, and concerns of that community." Moreover, the Department of Mental Health's child mental health plan calls for development of child, youth, and family services that are comprehensive, that are not more restrictive than necessary, that involve families in all aspects of service planning and delivery, that are integrated into a broader policy framework, that are coordinated through case management, that rely on early identification and intervention, that provide transitions to the adult service system, that preserve children's rights, and that are equitably administered with due regard to the special needs of ethnic minorities. School-based services are compatible with each of these objectives; and

Whereas, preschool programs have had the greatest demonstrated efficacy in primary prevention. Elementary-school programs have had the greatest demonstrated efficacy in secondary prevention; and

Whereas, early adolescence is a time when serious problems begin to appear, and entry into middle school or junior high school tends to be associated with increased depression and decreased achievement motivation. Accordingly, middle schools and junior high schools are prime targets for help for children at a particularly sensitive point; and

Whereas, a number of mental health problems of serious social importance, such as conduct disorders, are especially prevalent during the high school years, and some chronic adult mental illnesses often first appear at that time; and

Whereas, accordingly, the case is sufficiently strong for school-based services at all levels that the Department of Mental Health favors initiation of programs across childhood and adolescence. However, there is a need to test the relative efficacy of various service models before they are widely adopted. Now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

Pilot project for school-based counseling services established

SECTION 1. (A) A three-year pilot project for school-based counseling services must be established jointly by the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Education. The purpose of the project is to provide an array of school-based and child-focused counseling services developed by the Department of Mental Health in designated schools. The pilot project must serve at least fourteen schools.

(B) The services must include, but are not limited to:

(1) a child-focused school-based counseling clinic;

(2) training, consultation, and support programs for school staff.

(C) The schools chosen must meet the following criteria:

(1) geographically representative;

(2) representative of the socio-economic diversity of the State;

(3) varying in numbers of students for each school;

(4) twelve schools ranging in grades from fifth to eighth or ninth if included in a selected school, one school designated as an elementary school and one school designated as a high school.

(D) The Department of Mental Health and the Department of Education are jointly responsible for selecting individual schools and mental health centers within the designated parameters for participation in the pilot project.

(E)(1) The Department of Mental Health is responsible for providing mental health counselors, student interns, a supervisory position for the project in the Division of Children, Adolescents, and Their Families, Department of Mental Health, and basic travel and operating expenses. The personnel and expenses must be paid for with funds made available to the department by the General Assembly for this purpose. The director of the project must be employed on a full-time basis and is prohibited from engaging in any other paid employment with the State or any of its political subdivisions.

(2) The local education authorities are responsible for providing appropriate office space and furniture for the mental health personnel stationed at the designated schools.

(3) The departments are required to use Medicaid reimbursement to off-set the cost to the State. The departments are required to consult with the Health and Human Services Finance Commission, to be known as the Department of Health and Human Services, July 1, 1995, to estimate the resulting revenue as a result of services as a match for federal Medicaid reimbursement. The designated centers and schools are required to explore ways of redirecting or expanding support other than state funds. The department shall use a strategy to maximize the probability of federal or foundation, or both, funding. Notwithstanding another provision of law, any patient fees collected through the project must be used to offset the cost to the State.

(F)(1) There is established a School-Based Mental Health Pilot Project Advisory Board. It consists of one member appointed by each of the following: the Superintendent of Education, the Director of Mental Health, and the Legislative-Governor's Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Other appropriate individuals shall serve in an ex officio capacity as the advisory board considers necessary.

(2) The advisory board shall meet quarterly to review pilot project information and advise in regard to the project's implementation. Participating centers and schools shall provide quarterly updates to the advisory board.

(3) The involved departments shall submit an annual report containing a financial statement, which includes Medicaid reimbursement data, and a report of activities no later than September first each year of the project to the Legislative-Governor's Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation on the progress of the pilot project.

(4) The pilot project ends July 1, 1997. An interim and final evaluation must be provided to the Legislative-Governor's Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation by the involved departments no later than September 1, 1996, and November 1, 1997, respectively. The committee shall forward the final evaluation with its recommendations for school-based counseling services to the General Assembly no later than January 15, 1998.

(5) The Division of Children, Adolescents, and Their Families, Department of Mental Health, is responsible for providing staff support to the advisory board.


SECTION 2. Before December 1, 1995, the Department of Mental Health shall follow the appropriate procedures for a request for proposal for an independent interim and final evaluation of the pilot project. These evaluations must be presented to the Legislative-Governor's Committee on Mental Health and Mental Retardation and to the Senate Education Committee and House Education and Public Works Committee no later than September 1, 1996, and no later than November 1, 1997, respectively.

Time effective

SECTION 3. Upon approval by the Governor, this joint resolution takes effect July 1, 1994, or when the necessary funds are available to implement the pilot project for school-based counseling services provided in Section 1.

Approved the 10th day of May, 1994.